It Was A Day Of Contrasting Emotions

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It doesn’t happen often, but last night it did. After I got to my hotel room, I hurriedly made my way to the restaurant located in the hotel for a quick bite and just as quickly made my way back to the room. Was it even 8:00 p.m.? I don’t know, but I checked out early. I went to bed.

 

Yesterday had been a very long day and it was filled with extremes. Some of the extremes were only in the thought processes of my mind, but they impacted my psyche in a way that is hard to explain. When you added it all together it felt a lot like oil and water. I wasn’t as energized by the day as I was tired.

 

For starters, the General and I had chosen to disagree the evening before. With the best of intentions, she wanted to sign me up for a 10 week physical fitness regime that was guaranteed to leave me feeling better, weighing less and on top of my game. In fact, she was signing up for her third round. To her credit she looks great.

 

I looked at her like she was delusional and asked: “Have you forgotten that I am not yet fully retired. I have four more weeks to work”. She didn’t see any of that as a deterrent. “Well, you could go ahead and get started”. Why prolong the conversation? I said firmly, “It isn’t going to happen.” With equal determination she suggested it would be in my best interest to get on track.

 

After all, it was only a ten week commitment and it only cost somewhere between $600 to $700 dollars. I doubled that figure in my head because we’d both be spending that same amount. Was she crazy? Welcome to retirement. This was going to be fun.

 

Consequently, I awakened at 3:30 a.m. yesterday morning. The cause was a bad dream. In my dream, the General and I were playing tennis. How’s that for a novel ideal and low cost physical fitness? I used to love to play tennis and did so for many years. The General and I never played together because she had no interest in the game. At any rate, the court we were playing on was pretty upscale. In fact, in the dream our game was being televised and the announcer made reference to the fact that we had paid $2,100.00 to participate.

 

I woke up in a cold sweat. Wow! Wow! Wow! Why not just get up and start my day off early? I was headed to Houston and I needed to get there between 8:30 ad 9:00. Actually, the trip didn’t seem to take as long as usual. Part of that had to do with the number of things I was processing in my head. And “No, for the record, it was not distracted driving.”

 

During the course of the business day, I had the privilege of visiting with a couple in perhaps the most luxurious home I’ve ever visited. It added a whole new frame of reference for me. It was not a traditional home. It fell under the category of upscale high-rise living. In the process they have beautifully orchestrated getting it picture perfect. In fact, the couple enjoys collecting quality art. There taste is eclectic and they blend it all together for an incredible look.

 

The look was dynamic, but it paled in contrast to the energy and enthusiasm the couple displays in their philanthropic interests and pursuits. To say, theirs is a heart of gold best describe them. Despite what some might describe as an opulent lifestyle, they have a heart for “the least of these”. Honestly they are two of the most gregarious generous people I’ve ever met. Shared time with them was the most amazing experience.

 

I left that experience to visit with a friend from college who was hospitalized over the weekend at M.D. Anderson. He had called the week before to share with me that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At the time we talked, he had no idea that he’d be hospitalized by the next weekend, but life and health has a way of being a game changer.

 

The medical center complex in Houston is beyond belief. Thanks to the help of GPS, I located the hospital and breathed a sigh of relief when I pulled into the parking garage. Eight floors later, I found a place to park. Would I ever find my car again? I wasn’t sure, but I was on a mission to reconnect with a long-term friend.

 

I’ve actually only been to that hospital one time before. While in route, I noticed Methodist Hospital in my peripheral vision. Immediately, I had a flashback to the people I’ve visited in that venue. Actually, only three people came to mind, but I remembered those visits like they were yesterday. It is interesting how a visual image can activate one’s memory. One of the patients I visited at Methodist hospital is a very close personal friend and long-term neighbor in Henly.

 

The one time before that I went to M.D. Anderson, I remembered that finding the right location wasn’t easy. As luck would have it, I went to the wrong place. There were actually two or three separate buildings rather than one. Today all three of those locations are linked together by a sky bridge and you literally can walk a mile getting it all covered.

 

My uncle was in M.D. Anderson for treatment shortly before his death. As I drove into the medical complex, I thought back to my visit with him, my aunt and my cousin. That all seemed like a very long time ago. What year was it? Actually, I could find the date if it is important to know. I think it was seven or eight years ago. I subsequently was privileged to officiate at his funeral and subsequently that of my aunt’s.

 

My friend and I visited for a couple of hours. I thought I was probably overstaying my welcome, but conversation came easy and it was difficult to stop. I finally figured out that I probably needed to let him get some rest.

 

When I first arrived, he said, “Forgive me, but I want to talk to you about an important matter. It is important to me to get this out of the way, so let’s talk about it first. I have pancreatic cancer. We both know that doesn’t always end well. In fact, I don’t know anyone for whom it ended well. If this doesn’t play out the way I’m praying that it will, would you conduct my funeral service?”

 

We talked about that and then he jokingly said: “You’ll feel right at home. I’m going to be buried next to my parents at the cemetery in League City. You’ll be surprised to discover that next to their gravesite is a marker that says: ‘Forrester’”.

 

Yesterday was a full day. Gratefully, this morning I’m feeling refreshed and renewed. I’m ready for whatever the day brings.

 

All My Best!

Don

 

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